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One Beaumont restaurant owner says eatery has seen drop in customers since reopening

While some are seeing customers returning in large numbers, other restaurants are struggling to make ends meet after coronavirus forced closures

BEAUMONT, Texas — For some restaurants like Madison's in Beaumont, it didn't take long for customers to return to the dining room after COVID-19 forced them to close the doors. 

For others, like Republic Chicken, the owner tells 12News business actually started to drop and they're struggling to get people in.
Frankie Rendazzo is one of the owners at Madison's. Like so many other businesses, he says they'll have to figure out how to get past the debt the pandemic brought on. 

"But we will, we've been through hurricanes, floods, plant explosions so this is just another big hurricane for us," Rendazzo said. "I don't think we're ever gonna make up two and a half months of lost sales, that money's just gone." 

Luckily, he says it didn't take long for the customers to come in once the dining room reopened. 

At Republic Chicken, it's a different story.

John Swift is the owner, and was eager to reopen to the public.

"Yeah, we get a few people in but no where near the crowds that we have before COVID. We've been operating in the red since March and we continue to do so," Swift said. 

RELATED: Beaumont restaurant owner says they'll reopen Friday, even with strict capacity guidelines

After being able to reopen, he was hoping his restaurant would bounce back.

"You would think that would be the case, but in fact it has gone the other direction," Swift said. 

Starting Friday, restaurants will be allowed to operate at 75% capacity, but social distancing guidelines make that a difficult reality.

"I'm not seating people in a convention center, I'm seating in a limited space at an occupancy rate of one hundred sixty three. Bottom line, I can't fit more than thirty or forty people in there at any given time anyway," Swift said. 

He says 40 people isn't enough to keep the business alive, so local restaurants need your support now more than ever.

"If you're concerned about going out then I understand. But come and see us if you're feeling well and you want a good night out, we generally have a table available," Swift said. 

Both restaurants are following all state guidelines, but if you don't fee safe going in, there are still ways you can support them. To go and delivery are still options, and gift certificates are also for sale.

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